Term Paper: Teaching That Play a Role

Pages: 30 (9261 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … teaching that play a role in the decisions teachers make with regards to instruction. Attitudes and beliefs, reflective practice and teaching philosophy are all elements of decision making and are incorporated into this literature review. There were 60 sources used to complete this review.

ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS

For many years teachers have been held accountable for the progress, success and failure of their students. During those years the field of education has moved through various stages that have incorporated both the knowledge of the educators with the desires of the public. Whether it was teaching to the test, inclusion, diversity or technology that was examined the nation's teachers formed attitudes and beliefs about how to best deliver the instruction.

Attitudes of teachers can have a direct and significant impact on the success or failure of students. The attitudes of teachers are often tied to their beliefs. The attitudes and beliefs are formed from experience in life, in the classroom, education and bias. While teachers cannot stop themselves from developing attitudes and beliefs they can take steps to guide themselves into attitudes and beliefs that will have a positive impact on their teaching efforts (Carter, 2004).

One recent study "used regression analysis to identify the characteristics of teachers in an underperforming high school who were most likely to blame students and their parents for students' low achievement. The results revealed that the teachers who were most likely to do so can be characterized mostly by negative and contradictory attributes. The need for professional development that is aimed at improving teacher attitudes and beliefs about students and parents, and helping teachers to understand how their attitudes affect the quality of instruction that students receive is underscored (Carter, 2004). "

The study acknowledges the fact that there have been many changes in education over the years but points out the fact that there has always been and continues to be a disparity in the success rate of low income and ethnic students in the school system.

While teacher attitudes and beliefs have come under scrutiny for more than three decades, for the most part it has focused on elementary school education. One past study concluded that the attitude of teachers toward individual students become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

When teachers were told that certain groups of students were either academically high or low, based on IQ levels, they treated the students in a manner that supported and perpetuated the level, even though in reality the groups had been switched. In later studies, Cooper (1979) and Ryan (1981) found the effects of teacher expectations to sustain rather than cause student achievement differences. In short, LSES students and students of color who are already behind are often not expected or encouraged to catch up and learn the skills necessary to survive in the dominant culture (Delpit, 1995). "

This discovery underscores the significant impact that a teacher's attitude and beliefs can have on students regarding their ability to succeed or their belief the student will fail.

The study illustrated the fact that teachers who have faith and high expectations for a student is more apt to praise that student. A teacher who has an attitude that a student or a group of students cannot succeed will not be inclined to provide any encouragement or praise and when the student struggles the teacher does not offer help as there is a general attitude or belief that the student will fail anyway so why bother trying.

Furthermore, teacher expectations are often hidden, especially in how they ask questions, give feedback, and express personal regard (Brophy & Good, 1974; Good 1981; Kerman, 1979). Behavior that may stem from good intentions can also be damaging to students. For example, a teacher may refrain from asking perceived low-achieving students challenging questions or from expecting them to complete homework daily. Students, unfortunately, sense the implicit messages in the teacher's behavior -- messages that influence how they view themselves as potential achievers or "at risk failures" (Parsley & Corcoran, 2003). "

Previous studies have indicated that students who have experienced attitudes of low expectations from teachers will withdraw psychologically and will begin to fulfill the teacher's expectations. Over three years, even after leaving the low expectation teacher the student will continue to fail to reach for goals or to improve educational performance.

In short, what teachers believe about education and students makes a pronounced difference in student performance and achievement (Apple, 1990; Collins, 1992; Cooper, 1979; Drew, 1996). This pattern of teacher behavior based on attitudes and beliefs is often cyclical and, over time, detrimental to the academic and emotional success of students (Carter, 2004)." study conducted recently looked at identifying high school teachers whose attitudes might have a negative impact on student achievement and teaching efficacy.

The study included the participation of 121 teachers in Southern California in 2002.

The method used in the study was a questionnaire that the participants were asked to fill out and return (Carter, 2004).

The questionnaires were distributed to high school principals who were asked to distribute them to their teachers, have them filled out and return them. They were then mailed back to the research team for analysis (Carter, 2004).

A standard statistical software program (SPSS) for the social sciences was utilized to analyze the questionnaire data. Bivariate correlations and stepwise multiple regressions were run by the lead author. Mean substitution was used for missing data. Collinearity problems were controlled by excluding variables that had a tolerance level below.30. To enter an equation, a variable had to be significant at.05 or less. Variables were dropped from the equation if their p level was.10 or greater."

The 121 participants were teaching a total of 3,400 students with two thirds of the students being of color. More than 300 of the students were ESL students. These factors created an underperforming school by state standards (Carter, 2004).

Statistically 89% of the teachers employed at the school participated in the study. The average professional experience was nine years for the teachers who participated.

Emergency credentials applied to nine percent of the teachers with the rest having full credentials for teaching in the state.

Seventy-five percent of the questionnaire respondents were White and 54% were males (Carter, 2004)."

The study used a questionnaire designed to identify teachers with negative attitudes towards certain students. They were the teachers that were most likely to blame the students for any problems or difficulties that the students encountered regarding instruction.

When the results were in 57% of the respondents believe that if a student fails a test or assignment the student is largely to blame for it (Carter, 2004).

Using this statement as the criterion variable and numerous other questionnaire items as predictors, a stepwise multiple regression equation was created. Nine variables entered the equation and when combined, they represented 53% of the variance in the criterion variable (Carter, 2004)."

The study also identified four key factors that determine the teachers with negative attitudes and beliefs. The three key elements were as follows:

The strongest predictor indicated that teachers who blamed students for failing tests and other assignments were also likely to blame parents for students' underachievement (Carter, 2004).

The second strongest predictor indicated that teachers who blamed students for failing were unlikely to believe that most of their department-level colleagues were outstanding educators (Carter, 2004).

The third strongest predictor revealed that teachers who blamed students were more likely than others to admit that they did not treat their students in the way in which they would want their own children's teachers to treat their children (Carter, 2004).

The fourth predictor revealed that teachers who blamed students also tended to believe that most of their students did not want to succeed academically (Carter, 2004).

The fifth predictor indicated that teachers who blamed students were more likely than those who did not to have a masters degree and/or a doctorate (Carter, 2004).

The sixth predictor revealed that teachers who blamed students were more likely to believe that their colleagues at the school were outstanding educators (Carter, 2004).

The seventh and eighth predictors indicated that teachers who blamed students were likely to state that they made the curriculum relevant to their students' lives, and that they believed that all students have strengths and talents (Carter, 2004)."

The study discovered an important aspect of attitude and belief issues for teachers. It was able to identify and pinpoint eight factors that contribute to teachers developing negative attitudes toward teaching, their peers and students.

This study is important to the field of education and to this research as it allows future teachers of educators to prepare classes with these factors in mind and hopefully guide them to have more positive attitudes and beliefs during their interaction with their students.

With the world continuing to globalize the impact of diversity on education cannot be ignored. While teacher attitudes are often directed at under or overachieving students it has been demonstrated through research that underprivileged and minority… [END OF PREVIEW]

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